Amanda Jane Jones
We caught up with Amanda and learned about life in Chicago and working from home with kids!
Photo by Anna Zajac
Tell us about the children who call you mom.
Jane is 5 and always creating. She walks in the door from school, changes into either her pjs to get cozy or some crazy dress up and begins working on a project. She is so compassionate and feels things deeply. She is a peacemaker and never wants there to be contention. My favorite thing to do is watch her lip sync to the radio. She really gives it her all as she does with most things.
Miles is 3 and our cuddle buddy! He could cuddle for hours and hours. After Cree and Jane leave for work and school in the mornings, he always asks if we can cuddle for a bit before we start our day. He is ornery and knows Jane is a peacemaker and uses that to his advantage to get all the toys he wants (we're working on that, ha!). He is always growling, roaring or or playing something loud. But he always clarifies that he's a nice dinosaur or a nice dragon - not a mean one. He loves to read books and play with animals. He is just a really happy guy and he makes all of us smile or laugh every couple of minutes... he brings us so much joy.
Photo by Kaley Kocinski
Do you have any mom role models? Who?
My mom made my childhood really fun and magical. I always felt safe and comforted at home and I've tried to create the same atmosphere in my home as well.
What do you enjoy most about raising your children in Chicago?
So many things! Right about now is hard - end of winter is always the worst, but spring is near and then summer which is my favorite time to be in Chicago! We live on the south side very close to the beach and lakeshore. During the summer, we live at the beach and the pool. Our Chicago pools are free as are the beaches so we take advantage of the beautiful summer weather. We also go on family bike rides up and down the lakeshore almost daily. It's one of my all-time favorite things to do as a family. There are also so, so, so many wonderful parks all over the city which is such a gift to the residents.
All of the museums have free days throughout the year, so we get to take advantage of each museum and not spend a dime. The museum free days have kept me sane this winter. We've been going to the Museum of Science and Industry a lot! Chicago's south side is also very diverse which I love. Jane's teacher is so good about teaching about every family's different traditions and cultures. I love that my children get to grow up in such a loving and inclusive environment and neighborhood. Hyde Park is a really special corner of the city.
Photo by Kaley Kocinski
Do you have any favorite spots in your neighborhood that only locals know about? (i.e. cafes, playgrounds, etc.)
The lake shore (we have a little rock beach down by us that we love to visit and skip rocks on), Plein Air Cafe (yum!), University of Chicago Campus (we love to play hide and seek here as a family - so many little corners to hide in! And it's so beautiful), Promontory for date night, 63rd Street beach splash pad in the summer mornings (no one knows about it, so it's always empty!). Also the law school has a splash pad that's exceptionally fun to take kids to during the summer. It's open 24 hours and you can take your scooters on it which is pure heaven for my kids. There are benches for tired parents and it's gated off so no one can escape!
What’s your secret to maintaining your focus when you work from home?
Cree! He's my secret weapon. He's so supportive and takes Miles out and about when I'm working. I couldn't do it without a life partner who cared so much.
What's the most important lesson you hope to teach your children?
I think about this so often. To be kind, to work hard, to serve others and to love first. Miles is in a hitting stage unfortunately, so right now it's also: don't hit.
Follow Amanda on Instagram @amandajanejones for more!
Photo by Anna Zajac
Since having twins, California-based Elaina Bellis has learned to not sweat the small stuff. Read on to learn more about her life raising double trouble.
Inspired by the worldwide #TrashTag Challenge, we honored Earth Day with an office outing to clean up our our local community.